NFL Free Agency QB Landscape: AFC East

Chicago Bears (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Ryan Pace told us that everything is on the table and we have to respect that. With that in mind, we are going to uncover every stone and find the best possible quarterback, who is realistic to acquire for the Chicago Bears. Before NFL free agency kicks off we will go division by division and gauge the uncertainty at the quarterback position for each team.

Then, we will rank the most realistic options. We will start with the AFC East.

New England Patriots

The Patriots rolled with Cam Newton last season, but he is a free agent this offseason. They do have Jarrett Stidham signed. However, they signed Newton in free agency, and in one offseason, he beat out Stidham. Newton also struggled throughout the year, yet Bill Belichick never wavered that Newton was the better option.

More than anything, the Patriots are viewed as competition for a quarterback. For Newton, it is hard to say that he is a fit with the Chicago Bears. Matt Nagy noted that mobility needs to be a bigger factor of his quarterback, which could point to Newton.

Still, Newton had just signed a $1 million contract last offseason after the Chicago Bears traded and restructured Nick Foles for more than Newton was making. Not to assume for Newton, but it is hard to say that he would come to Chicago for 1. less money than Foles. 2. a guarantee that he was starting from day one.

The Bears have to look at Newton and say that they were precautious last season and turned out to be right. Whether Newton bounces back or not, it would be a stunning twist to see him wind up in Chicago for 10x what he made last season after the year he had in 2020. Some of his play can be written off for COVID, but the Bears would have to overpay a player with no one else looking to overpay him as a starter. Newton is unlikely but more likely than trading for Stidham.

Stidham is clearly not even the Patriots’ answer, so why would anything think he is their answer? That would be like overpaying Mike Glennon after barely playing for years…ouch.

Miami Dolphins

Since we are uncovering every stone, let’s say that Miami can acquire DeShaun Watson, but needs more ammo and Houston is not interested in Tua Tagovailoa. What do the Chicago Bears trade for Tua? Do they help Miami sweeten the offer and take him off their hands?

What would it cost? Tua lost value but did not go full Josh Rosen last year, which fetched Arizona a late second-round pick. It would take a first and potentially more to acquire Tua. The question then becomes whether they should do that or set their eyes for Mac Jones in the first round, who apparently has the attraction of his receivers more than Tua.

It is tough to judge a quarterback after one season but comparing the rookie season of Tua to Mitch Trubisky shows only a small difference. Is it worth selling a first for a second year with those questions?

1Tua Tagovailoa5106‑3‑018629064.118141187.
2Mitchell Trubisky7124‑8‑019633059.42193777.576.66.125.535.054124826.0

Of all the quarterbacks mentioned so far, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the most logical. Still, while we wrote that he could be an upgrade from Nick Foles, he also is not significant enough to change where the Bears would stand.

New York Jets

Now, we are in the meat of the conversation with Sam Darnold. The Jets apparently will look to take offers. Darnold will cost more than Nick Foles last year, but less than Tua, or a first-round pick for that matter.

He is signed and has a fifth-year option, but as Chicago did with Mitch Trubisky, they could give Darnold one year and then decide on him from there. Still, that puts them in a spot where they are right back in this spot next season. It also ties their hands pre-draft.

Below you can see the per-game stats of Mitch Trubisky through his career versus Danold. They have essentially been the same player.

1Sam Darnold19.232.1213.
2Mitchell Trubisky19.830.9208.

Sam Darnold may have been held back by Adam Gase and Is also nearly 3 years younger than Trubisky despite being one year of experience behind. Still, how much of a leap does he make In a situation where Trubisky struggled? Is it worth trading an asset for a player who may just be another Trubisky?

Joe Flacco will be a free agent, and if the team was taking every step, they would at least call him in to compete. Still, a duo of Flacco and Foles screams that they are drafting a quarterback, and the Flacco would likely want to be a backup, but not a third-string player.

Next. What Tom Herman could bring?. dark

Buffalo Bills

Matt Barkley is a free agent…I do not think Chicago Bears fans need to know why that is not happening. The Bears also passed on Jake Fromm throughout the 2020 NFL draft, and it is hard to see that they have more interest today than their late day three grade from a year ago. That leaves Davis Webb, as we know Josh Allen is not getting traded. Let’s say that Chicago and Buffalo will not be doing quarterback discussions.

1. Sam Darnold

2. Ryan Fitzpatrick

3. Tua Tagovailoa

4. Cam Newton

5. Joe Flacco